Oct 29, 2010

The Church of No Meat

Anyone living in France knows that being a Vegetarian in France is tough.  There are hardly any restaurants that have one dish without fish, meat, eggs or shellfish.  And to be vegan, it's totally impossible.  No animal products at all.  Not even cheese, honey or gelatin?  Zut Alors.

Not that I don't think that vegetarian have the right to be so, but in the US, they seem to be a quiet 'born again' movement.  Recent converts to the no-meat church, try to recruit others, the way that evangelicals do.   They bring out all kinds of arguments about morality, healthy, and an almost euphoric feeling that not eating meat will bring, similar to how I suspect Evangelicals talk about accepting the holy spirit.  Vegetarians aren't content letting you get by with eating your hamburger or chicken soup for lunch, they have to try to use this as a teaching moment about how your soul is jeopardy.  I think that evangelicals reserve that kind of scrutiny for teenagers trying to get into abortion clinics. 

I used to share an office with a vegetarian.    Last December my Frenchie had called me to ask me about how much foie gras we should order for Xmas dinner.  Well this didn't sit too well with my officemate.  For hostility usually reserved for genocide, I was called every horrible thing imaginable.  We didn't speak to each other until the following spring.  How awkward, spending 8 hours in an office with someone and not saying hello or how was your weekend.  He also liked to start sentences with 'You know what your problem is' .

The most ironic thing, is that most of these people have a problem with people talking about religion or imposing religious beliefs onto them.  But at the end of the day, whether we call it religion or vegetarianism -- strong beliefs are just that and trying to convert your friends, officemates and neighbors can lead to conflict.

Oct 19, 2010

31 fell flat

October is traditionally a difficult month for me.  My birthday is in October and for some reason this really put my dad in a bad mood.  So as a kid, birthdays were filled with sadness and disappointment.  I never had birthday parties and I was lucky if the day didn't end with my parents fighting.  I guess as I got older, my dad couldn't handle the fact that he too was getting older -- even if he is only 20 years older than I am.  As an adult I have tried to make my own traditions, so October wouldn't seem so depressing. It's the month that changes glorious summer in the mid-Atlantic to winter.  In just 31 days we can go from wearing shorts and flip-flops to coats, hats and scarves.  But over the years, the expectation of a magical day always leads to disappointment.  Some years it's not getting cake or a present from the hubby -- but most of the time it's that the hope is too big.  This year, I thought I would spread out the fun.  Try to do something out of the routine everyday.  I was doing really well at first.  The first few days were actually not too bad.  I even got presents and cake on my birthday.  But then I lost a friend -- a young friend of 36, who was taken from us too early in her young life.  Winter is setting in, pushing out the warm days of summer, too soon  and the happy days of October are behind me for this year.

This has made me question everything in my life.  Can I fix some regrets?  Maybe leaving France was the wrong decision.  While certainly dealing with striking crazies, isn't my idea of a swell time, the 9 weeks of vacation and the beautiful PACA weather is calling me back...  France is that lover that you can't get over, even if you never really got along -- is the pleasure  (weather, food, wine, etc) worth the pain (strikes, not being able to communicate, dealing with administration, low wages)?

Thanks for reading my blog.  I value you all of my readers.  Bisous

Oct 10, 2010


I have been with 'A', since 1999.  He was very 'French'.  Soon though, he started to pick up American habits.  Said 'Though' for the Homer Simpson D'oh, told people to "Bite Me" and bought a pair of "relaxed fit" jeans.  Even bought a flannel shirt and for a while had a Chevy pickup truck.
I began to wonder where did I go wrong, one day I am married to Pierre DuBois and the next day to Billy Bob Smith.  After over 10 years, I have decided to implement my plan for "Refrenchification".  Operation no more baggie jeans was crafted.  I began to notice that all of A's jeans were holey and causually he mentioned that he needed some new ones.  When I went to the mall this weekend, I found a couple of pairs that were the right size and he actually didn't take them back (even if at first he thought that they were too tight).  Success!  Well maybe he won't get his accent quite back, but we are on the road;)

The Billing Experts

I often wonder why my family doctor's office in American needs so many "office adminstrators".  In France, I waited in the waiting area, I didn't need to sign in, there was no receptionist, the doctor called me back when it was my turn, the doctor did everything from weighing me to taking my money and then I left.  Here in the US, there is the 3 receptionist, the 5 billing people, the 10 nurses etc.  No wonder the health care industry is the fastest growing in the US.  With all of those "billing specialist", you have to think, well at least they will be my advocate to the insurace company.  If you were to think that, you would be WRONG.  I recently had a claim denied.  I call my doctors office:
Me: Why did you send me a bill for my son's Jan appointment
Billing Specialist (BS): Your insurance company doesn't cover vaccinations.
Me: How is that possible, are you sure.
BS: Nothing I can do.
So I called my insurance company (IC):
Me: Do you really not cover vaccinations??
IC: Of course we do.
Me:Why did you deny my claim?
IC: Your doctor put some codes in incorrectly.
So then I called the doctor's office again:
Me:  I talked to my insurance company and they said you 'put the codes in incorrectly'
BS: That's no possible.
Me:  Well what do I know about it, I didn't go to Medical Billing school?  Can't you call the IC yourself?
BS: No
Me: Did you put in that the vaccinations were for "Routine Vaccination"??

I am so glad that my doctor pays all of those BSs to help me to navigate my IC. 

Oct 2, 2010

31 days of my 31

Just so happens that this October, I will be 31.  Having 31 days, I thought that this was a bit auspicious.  So came the idea of 31 days of my 31.  I will try to live this October to the fullest.  Shake things up a bit, let me hair down, break out of the routine.  I am off the a good start. 
October 1 -- Went for Margaritas.
October 2 -- Visited with my Aunt.  **  Ok, this is exactly wild and crazy, but normal Saturdays are: Grocery Shopping, Clean, Kids Nap, Do House project, etc. 
October 3 -- Go to the zoo with a friend.  ** Well I haven't become a wild spring-breaker, also breaking this house project routine.
October 4 -- who knows?

Maybe an Oktoberfest or two?? Stay tuned.